Alice Schroeder, biographer of Warren Buffett (see my “Snowball” best of/review post), has a wonderfully written piece “Am I Bitter …?“.
In life, I often try to learn the best ideas and practices from people I admire. At the same time, may be paying less focus on their shortcomings. Not because the shortcomings are less important but because other people may have similar failings and I might have learned NOT to make these mistakes already.
So this post is not about me deciding if Alice or Warren is “right”. I love both Alice and Warren for who they are (their insights and their failings) and not for who I want them to become. I guess what I want to say Alice has, taking her words for what they are, really shown her “genuine attempt to bring perspective and balance to the discussion [of Warren‘s investment decisions].”
As I get to know Alice more from “Snowball”, her Facebook fan page and her blog, I’ve grown to treasure her investment insights, admire her sense of humour and her determination to report things as she sees them. Deep insights and reporting in a fair and accurate manner are the qualities I seek when I read a reporter’s/author’s works, and are what I strive to achieve when I write my own reports in my blogs and in my examiner business and entertainment stories.
I had praised Warren in telling Alice before she started the biography project, “Whenever my version is different from somebody else’s, Alice, use the less flattering version.”
I now believe Warren had made a mistake.
If I were an important and rich man worthy of a biography, this is what I would have told Alice before I share years of my life with her and let her write my biography,
“Whenever my version is different from somebody else’s, Alice, use the MOST flattering version. Make up lies if you need to. Pay people to say good things about me. And you have to promise to Photoshop my photos.”
Seriously, I love both Alice and Warren. If I love Alice more, David (Alice’s lovely husband) will probably be kicking my ass. And if I love Warren more, I will probably be richer than I am because I will be spending a lot (and I mean a LOT) more time reading annual (and quarterly) reports of companies I may want to invest in.
Warren remains a great member of my self-created list of “great minds of our time“, regardless of the unfortunate turn of events between him and Alice.
P.S. Heck, an economist, one I deeply admire and has learned a lot via his books, is currently stuck in China because he has an outstanding US arrest warrant against him.
In life, I like to focus on the positive things I can learn from. But then it doesn’t mean that I will forget about the negative things and don’t try to also learn from them (mainly to avoid these mistakes in my own life).
P.P.S. I left this in Alice’s post and thought it may be nice to include it here.
I know it is almost impossible for you and Warren to be closer again (I avoid using the word “friend”). Hell will probably freeze over first. But then, I am an eternal optimist.
You see, Hell was frozen when Apple first worked with Microsoft.
And hell was recently refrozen again when Apple decided to use Microsoft’s useless-piece-of-junk Bing as a default search engine on iPhone. So evidences suggest Hell often freeze at unexpected time and more often then scientists had previously estimated. Good luck to you and Warren.